IT minister says SMEs’ development crucial for cross-border e-commerce

Addresses roundtable session on sidelines of WEF, highlights Pakistan’s achievements

Our Correspondent January 26, 2018
Minister of State for IT Anusha Rahman (2L) leading a Pakistani delegation at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Con­ference 2014 in Busan, South Korea. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: The development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is directly linked with the development of cross-border e-commerce, said Minister of State for IT and Telecommunication Anusha Rahman, adding that Pakistan is launching a ‘Made in Pakistan’ portal, which will bring 50,000 artisans online.

The minister was speaking at a roundtable session on e-commerce: ‘A new era for world trade, making SMBs a global force for development’ on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

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According to the statement issued in Islamabad by the IT ministry, Rahman highlighted Pakistan’s initiatives to promote Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The minister stressed that corrective measures are needed so that global south is not treated merely as a pool of customers but given equal opportunities to offer goods in global markets.

“The availability of digital platforms has eased service delivery and e-education, e-learning, e-health, e-agriculture are some of the avenues where industry can actively work with governments.”

She said that the industry and government should be synchronised and sustainable partnership models need to be operationalised under the public-private partnership (PPP) model to achieve societal and industrial benefits.

“Moreover, through a comprehensive PPP where the private sector is represented in large numbers, our government has constituted an E-Commerce Policy Board directly under the supervision of the prime minister,” Rahman informed. She said that a comprehensive e-commerce policy framework will be framed in the country, which will help small businesses reap benefits of digital technology.

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“However, challenges remain and discussions like these are welcome in finding ways to address these challenges. The sooner we find solutions for e-payments, infrastructure capacities, facilitative regulatory framework and credit financing for small businesses, the sooner we will provide SMBs a chance to effectively play their role in inclusive trade and development.

“The answers lie in international cooperation, effective engagement and a true conviction to help the smaller and poorer of this world.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2018.

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